IN THE CROSSHAIRS

This Week’s ‘ACC Fab Five’ Includes Huge Louisville Rebound

Ken Cross

September 13, 2022 at 9:31 pm.

Louisville Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) runs the ball during the first quarter against the UCF Knights at FBC Mortgage Stadium. (Photo: Mike Watters/USA Today Sports)

The “ACC Fab Five” column will take the previous Saturday’s ACC matchups and feature the top five conference games. These updates are not in any order, nor does the winning team have to be an ACC member. They will look for positive keys for the game’s winner and the significance of the game itself and how it was played.

Louisville 20, @UCF 14 – The Cardinals had a tough run in Week 1 in a 31-7 loss at Syracuse, but they rebounded immensely and defeated the Knights which are overall a tougher team than the Orange. Cardinals’ dual-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham threw for 195 yards and ran for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Cunningham is behind current Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, sitting third on the Cardinals’ all-time rushing list for touchdowns with 39 career carries for TDs. He is also fifth on the Cardinals’ rushing list where he now has 2,774 yards rushing as Jackson leads that category as well.

Cunningham’s 43-yard TD run with 2:46 left in the third quarter gave the Cardinals the lead for good at 17-14.

“It came down to our defense,” said Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield. “I went for it on fourth down because I really believed in our defense and if we would have gotten the first down there, the ballgame would have been over.”

@ No. 16 Miami 30, Southern Miss 7 – The Miami Hurricanes had a solid second-half outing in taking down Southern Miss, 30-7, in Hard Rock Stadium.

The Hurricanes only led the Golden Eagles, 10-7, at halftime, but Thaddius Franklin, Jr., capped a 13-play drive with a seven-yard touchdown run to start the second half scoring. Then quarterback Tyler Van Dyke hit Key’Shawn Smith with a 35-yard touchdown pass 2:34 later to give Miami a 24-7 lead with 4:56 to play in the third quarter.

Van Dyke passed for 230 yards and hit wide receiver Xavier Restrepo six times for 72 yards.

“We scored 20 points in the second half, but we didn’t finish drives,” said Miami coach Mario Cristobal. “We are 1-0 for the week and obviously that is your goal. Certainly, we want to play more polished, more precise football.”

No. 19 Wake Forest 45, @Vanderbilt 25 – The Demon Deacons’ offense was simply too much with Sam Hartman back in at quarterback.

Hartman threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns after recovering from a blood clot in the subclavian vein which is part of the arm connecting to the neck.

When Hartman hit Cameron Hite with a 17-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter, Wake built a 35-10 lead and was never threatened.  The Demon Deacons grabbed a 7-3 lead on a 31-yard interception return by Coby Davis with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

The Demon Deacons put up 451 total yards as the return of Hartman settled the team and made it a tough matchup for the Vanderbilt defense. Meanwhile, the Wake Forest defense forced three turnovers and was able to put up 21 points as a result of those.

“The positives were that we won the turnover margin, we were a little better in the red zone and our defense defended the quarterback run well,” said Demon Deacons coach David Clawson.

Duke 31, @Northwestern 23 – The Blue Devils were able to control this game throughout as they took a 14-0 lead after one quarter and moved to 2-0 under new Duke coach Mike Elko.

The Blue Devils had a balanced attack where quarterback Riley Leonard had 240 yards passing, while Jordan Waters (91) and Jalen Coleman (83) steered the Blue Devils to 221 yards rushing.

Even with those numbers on offense, Duke safety Brandon Johnson may have been the game’s MVP as he finished Northwestern with an interception and a fumble recovery to thwart the Wildcats’ comeback.

Duke’s win came after Northwestern had knocked off Big Ten rival Nebraska, 31-28, in Dublin, Ireland.

“We knew that they were going to keep coming and they did,” said Elko. “We knew we were going to come on the road and have to play a full four quarters.”

No. 24 Tennessee 34, @No. 17 Pitt 27 – Cedric Tillman caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Hendon Hooker as the Volunteers shaded the Panthers, 34-27, after losing this matchup at home by a touchdown last season.

The story for Pitt was being able to rebound and force overtime with the losses of now-Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett and wide receiver Jordan Addison, who transferred to USC. Pitt trailed, 24-17, going to the fourth quarter, but added a field goal and a 4-yard touchdown pass from Nick Patti to Jared Wayne to force the overtime.

The Panthers, who were following their 38-31 win over West Virginia, tallied 415 total yards while the Vols stood at 416. Pittsburgh tallied a combined 274 passing yards from starting QB Kedon Slovis and Patti, while running back Israel Abanikanda tallied a consistent 154 yards on the ground and a touchdown on 25 carries.

“Critical play of the game was down in the fourth quarter,” said Pitt coach Pat Narducci. “Nick Patti takes a run all the way down to the two or three and we get a holding call, which we will look at the tape, but everybody in the box said it. There was a lot of holding going on out there in different phases. That one hurt bad.”